Holt hundred: Edgefield

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1808.

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'Holt hundred: Edgefield', in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 9, (London, 1808) pp. 381-389. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-hist-norfolk/vol9/pp381-389 [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section


Is situated in the south-east part of Holt hundred: it was anciently spelt Edisfelde, Edithsfeld, Edesfeld, and Eggefeld.

There was formerly a cross in this parish, for Custancie Adam, relict of William, son of Ralf, priest of Eggefeld, who about the time of King John, or Henry III. enfeoffed her son, Stephen, for half a mark of silver, in one piece of land lying in the field of Egefeld, abutting upon the way which led from the cross of Egefeld towards Bynham.

In the 30th of Henry III. 1245, Walter le Rus and Alice his wife held 12 acres of land in Eggefeld, by the service of repairing the iron work of the King's ploughs. In the 13th of Edward II. 1399, a tournament was designed to be held in this town between divers men of arms, but was prevented by the King's writ, dated at York, 20th of October, and directed to the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk.

There are 2 manors in this town; the one is now dalled Edgefield Ellingham's, the other Bynham Priory Manor, or Edgefield Bacon's.

Edgefield Ellingham's.

From Domesday book it appears that Ralph, (fn. 1) the brother of Ilgar, had a grant of a lordship in this town from the Conqueror, on the deprivation of Bondo, a freeman of Herold, in the reign of King Edward the Confessor, and that there were 2 carucates of land, two villains, seven borderers, two bond slaves, two carucates of demean, and two amongst the tenants, paunage for 100 swine, five acres of meadow, one mill, two beasts of burden; in the Confessor's time there were seven swine, in the Conqueror's 23, then 7 sheep, now 80, then 13 goats, now 21, then one skep of bees, now two; and 17 socmen had 24 acres of land, accounted for in the carucates above.

It was then valued (in the Confessor's time) at 30s now (in the Conqueror's) at 40s. It was one leuca (fn. 2) long and half an one broad, and paid to the King 9d. in the gelt, (fn. 3) or tribute, and Humphrey held it under Ralph.

The ancient family of de Edisfield (descended perhaps from Humphrey abovementioned,) had this lordship.

William de Edisfeld was lord and patron in the time of Henry II. 1154. His son, Peter de Edisfeld, succeeded him, and was (with Robert Fitz-Roger) sheriff of Norfolk, in the 3d of Richard I. 1191. He left by Hawisia his wife, an only daughter and heiress, Letitia, who marrying Sir William de Rosceline, (fn. 4) this estate descended to their son, Sir Thomas Rosceline, to whom Henry III. in his 51st year, 1266, granted free warren in his demean lands in this town, Walcote, Norton, Hekingham, Drayton, Tasburgh, &c.

Letitia, his mother, being left a widow, married Sir Roger de Thurkeby, who, with his wife, presented to this church in the 3d of Edward I. 1274.

Sir Peter de Rosceline, the son of Sir Thomas, succeeded, and in the 14th of Ed. I. 1285, claimed view of frank pledge, and assise of bread and beer amongst his tenants; in the 22d year of the said reign, 1293, he had a summons to attend the King at Portsmouth, in order to accompany him to undertake the recovery of Gasconie, then possessed by the French King; and in 1300 and 1312, he presented to this church. In King Edward the Second's time, great disturbances arising between that King and his Barons, on account of his favourites, the Spencers, Sir Thomas de Rosceline, the son of Sir Peter, and the then lord of this manor, seems to have been on the Barons side, as in the 16th of Edward II. 1322, he was in rebellion against that King, and forfeited this manor, then valued at 15l. per ann. and that of Walcote, then valued at 17l.

In the 2d of Ed. III. 1328, he was banished, with many others, for taking part with the Earl of Lancaster against the great favourite Mortimer, but appears to have been restored to favour and his estate the following year.

In the 8th of Edward III. 1334, he confirmed by deed, this manor with that of Norton, and their advowsons, and the advowson of Whetacre, to Alexander de Walcote, and Adam, parson of Eggefeld: he was living in the tenth, but died without issue before the 15th year of the same reign, 1341; and, by his will, gave lands for a chaplain to pray for his soul, and for the soul of his grandfather, in the chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, founded by his grandfather in his manor here.

His inheritance came to his six sisters and coheirs.

Margery, the eldest, married Sir John Champaine; - - - - - the 2d, married Ralf de Bokenham; Alice, the 3d, married Sir William Daye; Joan, the 4th, married John Lord Willougby of Eresby; Maud, the 5th, married Sir Robert Tiffen; and Mary, the 6th, married Sir John Camois.

John Lord Willoughby, and Joan his wife, had the several shares of the others in this manor, &c. conveyed to; them for in the 23d of Edward III. 1349, this lord died seized of the whole; and Joan his wife, surviving him, married Sir William Synthweyt, who presented to this church in 1352.

John Lord Willoughby (fn. 5) was son and heir, and died seized of this manor, &c. in th 46th of Edward III. leaving Robert Lord Wil loughby, his son and heir, who, in the 6th of Richard II. settled this estate on his son, William, and Lucea his wife, and the heirs of their bodies, with the remainder to his heirs.

He (Robert Lord Willoughby) sealed with the arms of Beck, or Beke, to which family he was heir:

The seal is round, about the size of a crown piece; the arms are gules, a cross moline, argent, on his helmet a pair of horns issuing out of a coronet; on each side of the arms a lion sejant, guardant, supporting a lofty flourishing tree, and round the rim these words:

S: Roberti: de: Wilughbi: domini: erysby:

On his death, in the 20th of Richard II. he was succeeded by his son and heir, William Lord Willoughby, who died at Eggefeld in the 11th of year of Henry IV. leaving Robert Lord Willoughby, his son and heir, aged 24 years, lord of this manor and of Walcote, Whetacre, Chetgrave, and Roughton.

This Lord Robert died in the 30th of Henry VI. leaving Joan his daughter, then a minor of 7 years of age, but afterwards married to Sir Richard Welles; she had no interest in this lordship, that being entailed on the heirs male, so that it came to Sir Robert Willoughby, son of Thomas, a younger brother to the late Robert Lord Willoughby, with the honour, &c.

In this family of Willoughby, Lords of Eresby, it remained till the death of William Lord Willoughby, on the 19th of October, 18th of Henry VIII.; it then descended to his daughter and sole heir, Catharine, who had livery of it in the 26th of Henry VIII.

She was afterwards 4th wife of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, but surviving him, and having no issue, she married again, and brought this estate to her 2d husband, Richard Bertie, Esq.

She was a lady remarkably zealous for the reformation, and, on that account, was obliged, in the fiery days of Queen Mary, to take refuge in foreign countries; by this husband she had a son, called Peregrine, (being born abroad in these times of trouble and distress) who, on the death of his mother, in the 23d of Elizabeth, had a summons to parliament as Lord Willoughby of Eresby, and from him the present Duke of Ancaster is descended.

Richard Stubbs, Esq. purchased this manor and advowson of Thomas Cropley, (fn. 6) Esq. about the first of Elizabeth.

He died about the 19th of James I. and was succeeded by his eldest daughter and coheir, Dionesia, Lady of Sir William Yelverton of Rougham, Bart. who held this manor, &c. till the 5th of Charles II.

Lady Mary Jermyn, relict of Sir Thomas Germyn, Bart. of Rushbrook in Suffolk, was then lady and patroness.

At her decease, in the 33d of Charles II. Thomas Newton, Gent. succeeded. In the 12th of William III. Thomas Marcon, Gent. was lord; and in the 11th of Queen Ann, Jn. Marcon, Esq. possessed it: he married Rebecca, daughter of Sir Benjamin Wrench, Knt. as physician at Norwich; and after his decease, in 1723, she married Colonel Harbord.

On her death this manor and advowson came to John Marcon, Esq. of Swaffham, (son of Edward Marcon of Fornset, and cousin of the beforementioned John,) the present lord and patron.

Bynham Priory Manor, now called Edgefield Bacon's.

In the time of Edward the Confessor (1041–1063) it appears from Domesday book, that Scet, a freeman, held here fourscore acres of land, five villains, one borderer, and one carucate of land, paunage for 100 swine, two acres of meadow, and 2 socmen with twelve acres of land, which lay towards Binham. (fn. 7)

At the conquest this was granted to Peter de Valoins, or de Valeniis, who in the reign of Henry I. (1100–1135) founded the priory of Bynham. Roger de Valoins, his son, succeeded him, and confirmed 2 parts of the tithes of his lordship here; after him, Robert his son, confirmed his whole demesne and lordship, with the homages, wood, alders, and free warren in this parish, to that priory.

During the subsequent reigns of King Stephen, Henry II. Richard I. John, Henry III. and Edward I. this manor, and the possessions of Bynham priory in this town were very much encreased by numerous grants and gifts of lands, rents, &c. as appears from the following extract taken from the register of that priory. (fn. 8)

John, surnamed Le Strange, for the health of the souls of King Henry the younger, and Aleanor his Queen, and of William Earl of Arundel, his lord, and Queen Adeliza his wife, &c. gave to the monks of Bynham all the fee that Ralf de Hunestanton had in Eggefeld, and his son Simon after him, and after his brother Reginald de Brun, to whom the said John le Strange succeeded as right heir.

Simon, son of Hamo, of Hemsted, quitted his claim to them of his right in lands and a mill in Eggefeld.

Maud, daughter of Jeffrey de Suerdeston, gave them 6 acres of land in Eggefeld held of the church of Walsingham, for the soul of Sir William, late of Eggfeld.

Richer de Causton gave lands in Eggefeld, and common in his pasture, and heath, of his whole fee in Hemsted and Plumsted, for the monks own sheep, where any of his men had common and beasts.

Stephen de Causton and Beatrix his wife, gave them an acre of land in this town.

William, son of Rosceline, and Lettice his wife, daughter of Peter of Egefeld, acknowledged in the King's court at Norwich, before Sir G. de Bocland, Fulco de Breant, Ralf Gerner, Richard de Seyng, Jordan de Sankevil, Simon de L'Isle, and John de Worsted, clerk, the King's justices itinerant in Norfolk, that they had no right to claim freewarren, or common, in the monks of Bynham wood, &c. in Egefeld: Witnesses, Roger de Remerston, Vicecom: Fulco Baynard, Alexander de Basingburne, steward of Pandulfus, Bishop elect of Norwich, &c. &c.

There was likewise another agreement made, on Friday before the feast of All-Saints, in Egefeld churchyard, between the prior of Bynham, and Sir William, son of Rosceline, of all demands of customs, &c. that Sir William demanded of the prior's men here, before the prior of Cokesford, William Fitz Simon, &c. &c. that the tenants of the prior should do only three days work to Sir William and his heirs, &c. and therefore should have common as they were wont.

William de Albeny and Maud his wife, and their son William, for Roger Bigot's soul, confirmed the gift of Simon, son of Ralf, to these monks, of lands in Edgefeld.

Ralf, son of Richard Mauduit, gave the monks 12d. rent, issuing out of lands here, and two hens yearly.

There was an agreement between the priors of Bynham and Walsingham, concerning the services of Reginald son of Thomas of Holkham, and others, and likewise concerning 6 acres of land here, and in Holkham, with several services assigned to one monastery, and to the other.

John (de Grey) Bishop of Norwich, recorded the agreement made between the prior of Bynham, and Richard, parson of Egefeld, with the consent of William of Egefeld the patron, that the prior should have a chapel (fn. 9) to hear divine service in, whenever he should come here.

Simon de Hemsted and Avice his wife, and Hamo their son, granted to the monks, the water between Hempsted and Egefeld, to better the monks mill.

Ralph, son of Alexander, and Egefeld, gave the services of Michael de Aldeby here, to the monks.

Simon of Hemsted, by fine levied the 18th of Henry III. 1234, granted 18 acres of land in this town to the monks.

Alice de Melton, in her widowhoood, confirmed to the monks 6d. yearly rent, payable by Agnes Maudit.

Ralf Maudit of Egefeld granted to the monks of Bynham, all his, lands here, with a messuage, and his right in the lands, formerly John Godchep's, with the dower of Alice de Melton, wife of his brother Roger, and the lands of Agnes his sister; the prior regranted to him and Maud his wife, a messuage for life, with 7 quarters of barley, a nd 8s. yearly, and finding for their son, Richard, convenient livelihood, in meat and drink during life.

John de Stepingle gave to the prior, &c. 6d. yearly rent out of certain lands in this parish, mentioned in the deed.

Beatrix, relict of Stephen de Causton, gave to William her son, her land here held of the prior, called Eggefeld Roch. She and her son afterwards released all their right in this land, to the prior, &c.

Thomas, son of William de Lose, released to these monks all his right in a piece of land here bounded, as in the deed.

Richer de Causton gave the monks lands here, abutted, as in the deed, dated in the 50th of Henry III. 1265, and Hugh his son gave them other lands. (fn. 10)

The prior and convent likewise made some grants of lands, in this town.

Ralf, prior of Bynham, and the convent, gave to Henry de Lenna, nephew of Fingern, the archdeacon, the land here contained within the limits mentioned in the deed, he paying them 3s. yearly rent.

The prior of Bynham, &c. gave to Roger le Newman, and Robert his son, 6 acres of land here, they paying 3s. yearly rent, and giving 6 marks to the prior, &c.

Milo, prior of Bynham, &c. granted to Ralf Wrong 20 acres of land here, and a messuage abutted as in a deed.

Peter, prior of Bynham, &c. gave to Richard, son of Simon de Hempsted, lands here.

After these grants, rents, &c. &c. there follows in the register, a rental of the priory's manor, in Eggefeld, containing the names of the tenants, the rents, parcels of land, &c.

The prior of Bynham, in the 14th of Edward I. 1285, claimed view of frank pledge, and assise of bread and beer, in Eggefeld, Gunthorp, and Salthus, &c.

On the 11th of the kalends of May, (21st April) 1378, Henry Bishop of Norwich, (with the consent of the prior and convent of Bynham, Richard, parson of Eggefeld, and Robert Lord Wylughby, patron of the church) ordained that the rector of Eggefeld and his successors, should have the tithes, arising from the lands of the prior and convent of Bynham, in Eggefeld, except the tithe of wood, and underwood, and of what was left on their lands for the feed of their cattle, and that the rector of Eggefeld and his successours should pay to the prior and convent of Bynham, and their successours, 33s. 4d. yearly forever. (fn. 11)

The seals of the Bishop—of the prior and convent of Bynham— of the abbot and convent of St. Alban's—of Richard, parson of Eggefeld—of Robert Lord Wylughby, patron of the church, and of many others, are set to this agreement.

In the 7th of Henry VI. 1428, the temporalities of the priory in, this town were valued at 10l. 18s. per ann.—The spiritualities at 40s. per ann.

The priors of Bynham continued lords of this manor till the 36th Henry VIII. 1345, when this priory, amongst others, being suppressed the manors and estates belonging to it came into that King's possession, and were by him granted away to divers of his subjects.

This manor and estate, with all its appertenances, rights, privileges, &c. &c. and the great wood in Eggefeld, then called Prioure wood, were granted by the letters patent of Henry the VIII. (fn. 12) (bearing date the 3d of March, 1545, 36th of Henry VIII.) in as full and ample a manner as before possessed by the prior and convent, to Sir William Butts, (fn. 13) and his heirs for ever, with other manors and estates in other counties, upon his paying into the treasury, the sum of 767l. 12s. 6d.

Sir Nicholas Bacon, (fn. 14) the first baronet, marrying Ann, heiress of the Butts family, came next into the possession of this manor and estate, about the 9th of James I. 1611, and in this family it continued till the 9th of Charles II. 1657, when Sir Edmund Bacon, Bart, and the trusteees of his father sold it to Edward Cooper, Gent. of Edge field, whose ancestors had been possessors of lands in this parish before the time of King Edward III. 1327, as appears by an old feoffment of Sir Thomas Rosceline's, wherein he confirmed "to Walter Meyns, a piece of land in Eggefeld, lying next the lands of John le Cupre, on the east; the descendants of this John continued purchasing there at different times, till the extinction of the male line of this family, which ended in Edward Cooper, Gent. son of Edward abovementioned, who dying unmarried in the 9th of Ann, 1710, devised this manor and his whole estate in this parish, to the Rev. Edward Fenn, (fn. 15) clerk, his nephew, second son of Mary his sister, wife of William Fenn, Gent. whose ancestor was Capt. John Fenn, of the city of London, Esq.

In this family it has continued ever since, and John Fenn, of East Dereham, Esq. in this county, is the present lord, and possessor of the estate.

The Church is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, as appears by the will of Adam Dalyson, parson there, dated the 16th of August, 1451.

The steeple is octangular, the church has two isles, andt wo porches leaded, the chancel is tiled.

On the north chancel window, St. Peter.

On the east window, gules, three round buckles, bost, or; the arms of Rosceline.

In the chancel the arms of Beck, or Beke, and Ufford, quarterly, first, gules, a cross moline, argent; second, sable, a cross engrailed, or; third, as the 2d; fourth, as the 1st.

Likewise argent, a sarcelle, gules; and gules, two keys, saltierwise, or.

A mural monument for Amy, wife of Thomas Horseley, clerk; arms, gules, three horses heads couped, argent, bridled, sable.

In the church, the arms of Beck and Ufford as before—of Cooper, azure, a saltier engrailed, between four trefoils, or, on a chief argent, three dolphins naiant, of the first;—crest, a lion's head erased, argent, gorged, with a chaplet, vert—of Pell, ermine, on a canton, azure, a pelican, or.

On a plate the following inscription—
Orate, p. aiab; Petri Fenn et Alicie, Uror. ej; quor. aibi; p'piciet Deus.

The following are prettily painted on the skreen, which encloses the south chapel.
Orate pro aiab; William. Parstong et uroris cius Anno Dni Mo cccccrriiiiii

A woman, and six daughters kneeling.

A man, and seven sons.
In Domino co'fidd Memento fine' quia morieris.

On wood, Four angels carved.

On a flat stone,

Here lyeth the body of Edward Cooper, Gt. who died the 26, day of Novemb. in year 1710, aged 50 years.

On another stone,

Here lyeth the body of William Pell, Gent; who departed this life the the 21, day of October, 1710, aged 52, yearsAnd also Lydia Pell, his relict, who died the 12th of January 1732.

Lady Alice Willoughby, was buried here 14 of June 1595.

The church is a rectory, the old value was 17 marks—Peter-pence 9d. and the prior of Bynham had a portion of tithe valued at 40s. per ann.

The temporalities of Fakenham dam, 1d.

The present value in the King's books is 11l. 6s. 8d.—Tenths 1l. 2s. 8d.—First fruits 10l. 4s.—Synodals 2s. 4d.—Procurations 2s. 10d.

It is in the archdeaconry of Norwich, and deanery of Holt.

In the church was the guild of St. Thomas.

Simon Woodrow, an inhabitant of this parish, by his will dated October 1, 1639, gave to Henry his son 13 acres of land in Edgefield, charged with the payment of 50s. annually for ever, to the minister and church-wardens of this parish, 40s. of which they were to expend yearly in relieving poor widows belonging to their parish, and 10s. was to be expended in repairing and beautifying the church.


1154, Richard, priest of Egefeld, presented by William, son of Peter de Edisfeld.

1189, Ralf, priest of Egefeld.

1216, Stephen, priest.

1274, —, by Sir R. de Thurkeby and Lettice his wife.

1300, Robert de Langele, priest, by Sir Peter Rosceline.

1312, Adam de Billokeby, priest, by Sir Peter Rosceline.

1334, —, by Sir Thomas de Rosceline.

1352, Hugh Wauncy, priest, on the resignation of Billokeby, who changed for Mulkeberton, by Sir William de Synythweyt.

1360, William de Rathilby, priest.

1368, John de Shendilby

1369, Richard Wade, priest, by William Lord Zouche, of Haryngworth, &c.

1378, Richard —, rector, by Robert Lord Wylughby.

1390, John in le Ker, rector

1440, Adam Dalyson, rector.

1452, Roger Byntre, (fn. 16) capellanus.

1458, John Annottyson, rector.

1484, William Eluys, clerk,

1509, Thomas Sentler, rector.

1512, Thomas Sneyde, clerk, by Lady Margaret Willoughby.

1549, Henry Bacon, clerk.

1594, John Martin, rector, by Richard Stubbs, Esq.

1614, Edmund Gurney, clerk, by Richard Stubbs, Esq.

1620, John Martin, clerk, by Richard Stubbs, Esq.

1693, Arthur Gallant, rector.

1713, Robert Cubit, rector.

1729, William Herring, LL.D. rector, by John Jermy, Esq. patron of this town only.

1743, William Herring, on the resignation of Dr. Herring, by Rebecca Harbord, widow.

1747, Thomas Bott, rector, by Rebecca Harbord, widow.

1754, Lancaster Framingham, rector by John Marcon, Esq.

1764, Bransby Francis, rector, on the resignation of Framingham by John Marcon, Esq.


  • 1. Ralph had a grant of the manor of Stodey, likewise, in this hundred, &c.
  • 2. Spelman, in his Glossary, says the leuca in Domesday means one mile only, but 'tis in general found that two miles of the present measure answer much better the definition of that word.
  • 3. Terre Ranulfi fratris Ilgeri In Edisfelda tenet Humfridus q'm. tenuit Bondus lib. T. R. E. ii car. t're. Heroldi, sep. ii villi. et vii bor. ii ser. sep. in d'nio. ii car et ho'um ii car. silva ad c por. v ac. p'ti mol. mo. ii runc. tc. vii por. mo. xxiii tc. vii ov. mo lxxx tc. xiii cap. mo. xxi tc vas ap. mo. ii et xvii soc. de xxiiii ac. t're. ist. sunt in super. car. tc. val xxx sol mo xl. & ht. i leug. in long. et d. in lat. et ix den. in gelt.
  • 4. Rosceline bears for his arms, gules, three round buckles, bost, or.
  • 5. He married Cecily, eldest daughter of Robert de Ufford Earl of Suffolk, and coheiress of her brother, William de Ufford Earl of Suffolk.
  • 6. Quere, if the Pastons had not this manor before Thomas Cropley, Esq. of whom Stubbs purchased it in the first of Elizabeth, 1558? Stubbs bears for his arms, sable, on a bend, or, between three pheons, argent, as many fermauix, gules.
  • 7. Terre Petri de Valoniens: In Edisfelda ten. Scet. lib. ho. T.R.E. lx et xx ac. sep. v vill. et i bor. et i car. silva ad c por. ii ac. p'ti. et ii soc. de xii ac. t're. et jacet ad Bineham.
  • 8. Extracted from page 87, to page 96, &c.
  • 9. Quere, if this is not the chapel on the south side of the church, the skreen, of which is painted?
  • 10. To every one of these grants, agreements, &c. there are several witnesses.
  • 11. Ex Autogr. penes D. Tanner, Cant. Pr.
  • 12. These are in the possession of John Fenn, Esq. the present lord of this manor.
  • 13. Butts bears for his arms, azure on a chevron, ermin, between three estoils argent, as many lozenges, gules—Crest, a bay horse's head couped.
  • 14. Bacon bears gules, on a chief argent, two mullets, sabie.—Crest, a boar passant, ermine.
  • 15. Fenn bears argent on a fess azure, three escallop shells of the first, within a bordure engrailed of the 2d.—Crest, a dragon's head crazed, argent, about his neck and collar, azure, charged with three escallops of the 1st—Motto, FERIO TEGO. Fenn also bears for a crest, a plume of three ostrich's feathers argent.
  • 16. Quere, whether these were rectors?